Solid materials with tunable reverse photochromism

Julià López, A.; Ruiz-Molina, D.; Hernando, J.; Roscini, C.

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, , , (2019)
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b22335

Abstract: Herein we report on a novel, straightforward and universal strategy to achieve solid materials with highly tunable reverse photochromism. This was accomplished by means of commercially available spiropyran dyes, which can produce different types of stable merocyanine states (i.e. non-protonated and protonated forms) displaying distinct reverse photochromic properties (i.e. colours and colouration rates). To finely control the concentration ratio of these species and, as such, tailor the optical performance of the photochromes, we exploited their differential interaction with surrounding media of distinctive nature (i.e. non-volatile protic and aprotic polar solvents). In this way, solutions displaying different photochromic responses were prepared for individual spiropyrans without requiring chemical derivatization, an approach that can be generalized to other spiro dyes with distinct acid-base properties. To transfer this behaviour to the solid state, core-shell capsules of these solutions were prepared, which were then used as ink materials for the fabrication of flexible polymeric films with unprecedented tunability of their photochromic properties that can be employed as rewritable multi-coloured devices.

Solid materials with tunable reverse photochromism
Strategy used in this work to obtain tunable reverse photochromism with spiropyrans: a) modulation of the coloured merocyanine forms (non-protonated MC vs. protonated MCH+ forms); b) encapsulation of the designed dye mixtures and integration of the core-shell capsules in solid films.